History has been made in the United States of America with then confirmation that the governing body of rugby in the country, USA Rugby has signed eleven athletes on full-time contracts for the year of 2012. The confirmation follows an announcement made last November that the USA was to contract players as part of the country´s interest in having competitive mens and womens teams at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. The confirmation of the eleven athletes involved consultation between USA Rugby CEO, Nigel Melville and USA Men´s Rugby Sevens coach, Al Caravelli.
The players are to live at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista and will train as a team year round at the OTC alongside fellow Olympic hopefuls and Olympians. The players will be joined by other players who are refered to as the taxi squad, namely players that will attend pre-tournament camps and compete for spots on the squad of players selected to travel and represent the USA in international competitions. Both the professional players and the taxi squad are to enter camp on Friday January 20, 2012 to begin their preparations for the Wellington (New Zealand) and Las Vegas (United States) legs of the HSBC Sevens World Series.
Andrew Durutalo and Miles Craigwell have been offered contracts, but have not yet signed their respective deals. If those two sign their contracts, there will be two spots that need to be filled in order to round out the residency squad.
Garrett Bender (Minneapolis, Minn.)
Tai Enosa (San Diego, Calif.)
Colin Hawley (Trowbridge, Calif.)
Rocco Mauer (Cleveland, Ohio)
Folau Niua (East Palo Alto, Calif.)
Blaine Scully (Sacramento, Calif.)
Roland Suniula (Boston, Mass.)
Shalom Suniula (San Diego, Calif.)
Zack Test (Palo Alto, Calif.)
Peter Tiberio (Naperville, Ill.)
Maka Unufe (Provo, Utah)